Philip Summers Shuts Down Hand-Drawn Game Guides

The creator cites pressure from an unnamed IP holder as the main reason.

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 09/06/2021 23:36 Comment on this     ShareThis

Philip Summers has garnered a lot of attention over the past couple of years thanks to his Hand-Drawn Game Guide series of players guides. Summers, as the series’ name attests, draws everything by hand, as well as writes and hand-letters every page. His most recent work was a guide dedicated to The Legend of Zelda on NES, which rapidly sold out and saw multiple printings. Summers even handled cover art duties for issue two of Ninty Fresh Magazine. All was looking well as he took to Kickstarter to fund his upcoming Metroid guide. Then, this happened over the weekend:

Hi Backers!

As you all hopefully know, we cancelled the project this past weekend. After doing so, we faced a pretty intense response. People added their own assumptions that were, in many cases, not true. So we wanted to take a moment today to set the record straight on a few things! Here we go…

1) We did not receive a cease and desist.

A number of gaming blogs/sites have reported the cancellation as being forced on us due to a threat, cease and desist, angry CEO banging on our door, etc. It’s nothing so exciting. We were contacted by a lawyer representing one of the game companies suggesting there may be concerns. That’s it. So…

2) We, alone, made the decision to cancel.

Yes, we know that Kickstarter has tools in place to put projects on “hold” so that any sort of copyright dispute can be resolved and a project may be allowed to proceed or not. We decided against doing this for two reasons: 1) an abundance of caution, and 2) this all happened too close to the goal for Kickstarter to respond.

See… it’s possible that Kickstarter may have decided to allow funding to proceed. That would mean all of you wonderful Backers would be charged and we’d be required to deliver rewards. But what happens if, after that, a game company does force us to cancel production? We’d be in a very bad place where we can’t get you your books, but also couldn’t afford to refund everyone 100% because Kickstarter/payment processor fees do not refund to us in the event we decide to refund Backers.

The only safe move was to pull the project for now.

3) No one was charged anything.

There is no worry about refunds because no one was charged one dime. By cancelling the campaign, all charges are cancelled as well.

4) Attacking game companies will only hurt us and the project further.

We have yet to have our meeting to discuss how we can remedy the issues expressed by the lawyer who reached out to us. We don’t want to create any additional concerns because things “blew up in the press.” Please understand that when you write anything that attacks game companies based on assumptions that are untrue, it can worsen the problem and hurt us in the process.

5) We remain hopeful we will be back soon!

Again, we don’t even know what these concerns are. There are similar situations that have happened before with people trying to make gaming-related books. We are hopeful we’ll have good news for you soon and will be allowed to relaunch the campaign… with the blessing of the game companies!

As always… stay tuned!

~HDGG Team

The above is the entirety of the Hand-Drawn Game Guides Team’s statement on their Kickstarter page. It’s incredibly sad to hear this news as Summers’ talent is enormous and the guides are gorgeous, not to mention incredibly useful.

As noted in the above statement, Summers has not and indicates that he will not be revealing which IP holder caused this situation to arise. Sadly, some media pundits and outlets, including Kotaku, erroneously attributed the takedown to Nintendo (Kotaku has since updated its story). While Nintendo is known for vigorously defending its IP and shutting down fan projects and events of all kinds, there is nothing to definitively say Nintendo was to blame here versus, say, Konami or Koei Tecmo, whose IP Summers has also used in his work.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter who raised their concerns with Summers: at the end of the day, this just sucks and we hope that a middle ground can be found so that Summers can continue his work. Summers is optimistic but makes no promises that he’ll be able to continue. We’ll be sure to update this story as we learn more.

Source: Hand-Drawn Game Guides Kickstarter Page

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